Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

Teaching Tips & Links for SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Issue 81 - Preparation for a Brand New Session

January 14, 2020

Welcome to 2020 and our first bulletin for the new year. There is just so much engaging content coming through at the moment that we decided to publish now and not keep our promise of the first issue for 2020 coming out in February.

It is at this time of year that we prepare subject outlines ahead of the 202030 teaching session. The Teaching Professor newsletter this month begins a series to be rolled out in the coming weeks focusing on Revisiting the Syllabus. Note: for us at Charles Sturt, for "syllabus" read "subject outline".

We recommend exploring this week's articles and checking-in to The Teaching Professor over the coming weeks. This week's articles:

  1. Flip the First Day
  2. Identifying Goals Helps Online Learners Sustain Self-Motivation
  3. The Boring Syllabus
  4. Beyond Syllabus Policies: What Strategies Help Students Take Responsibility for Learning?

Professional Learning Opportunities this week

Interested in podcasts? Try subscribing to the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast.

Start with this podcast Connected Teaching (40 min) with author Harriet Schwartz on her book Connected Teaching with a focus through relational cultural theory.

Interested in Digital Equity? See this special issue of AJET, the Australian Journal of Educational Technology with 11 peer-reviewed articles on a range of topics related to digital equity in education. https://ajet.org.au/index.php/AJET/issue/view/140

Interested in Academic Integrity? Register for webinar EdSurge Live: How to Protect Academic Integrity From a ‘Cheating Economy’ on Tuesday, January 28 at 1pm PT/4pm ET. - that converts to Wednesday, January 29 at 8am AEDT.


1. Flip the First Day

By: Kevin Brown

Source: https://www.teachingprofessor.com/topics/preparing-to-teach/first-day-of-class/flip-the-first-day/

Reading Time: 1 minute (5 minutes for original article)

This article is based on the principle of not “wasting” the first day of class by covering the syllabus, course schedule, class rules and routines, and the like.


Make a video to convey basic information about the subject content, schedules and other first-day information. This model, once established can be used throughout the teaching session for transmitting other short bursts of information about items such as weekly topics and upcoming assignments. Screencast-o-matic or similar software is recommended. This is available at Charles Sturt, or you can use Panopto (see Professional Learning opportunities below for a session on using Panopto, Jan 20).

What to do with students who don't/won't watch the videos:

  • Provide opportunities for them to ask questions, then point them to the videos for the answers.
  • Based on information from site analytics, contact students who still haven't watched the videos with a series of prompt questions. These are the students who may need extra support in the first few weeks of the subject.


Use the video to engage students with your passion for the subject.


2. Identifying Goals Helps Online Learners Sustain Self-Motivation

By: Randy Laist

Source: https://www.teachingprofessor.com/topics/online-learning/identifying-goals-helps-online-learners-sustain-self-motivation/

Reading Time: 1 minute (4 minutes for original article)

QUOTE: Online students ... need to internalise motivational strategies that actively remind them of not only what they need to do to meet the course expectations but also why they are taking the course in the first place.

How can we assist our students to maintain motivation?

Goal-setting. Use the discussion board in the learning management system (Interact2) to encourage students to write down and share their goals and then reflect on their progress at regular intervals.

Laist suggests questions designed to:

  1. activate the students' self-conscious awareness of their learning goals
  2. facilitate mid-semester reflection on these goals, and
  3. help students to assess their progress towards their goals at the end of the subject.


  • Promotes learner-learner engagement (see Online Learning Model Interaction between Students).
  • Promotes student self-evaluation of progress at the mid-point of the study session.
  • Develops lifelong learning skills.
  • Assists planning for future learning.
  • For the teacher: aids subject evaluation.


The article includes useful references on goal-setting, such as:

Hendel, R. J. (2017). Supporting multiple modalities and universal design in learning with goal-setting. Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, 15(6), 25–30. Retrieved from http://www.iiisci.org/journal/CV$/sci/pdfs/IP029LL17.pdf that looks at Universal Design in Learning (UDL), Pedagogical challenge, Goal-setting theory and the ten attributes of goal-setting.


3. The Boring Syllabus

By: Ed Cunliff

Source: https://www.teachingprofessor.com/topics/preparing-to-teach/syllabus/the_boring_syllabus/

Reading time: 1 minute (4 minutes for original article)

If you find the subject outline boring while you are preparing it, then why do you expect that students will find it interesting enough to read it? And read it, they must!

An important and noteworthy point:

Your subject outline forms part of the first impression that students will have of you as the teacher. So, why not use the opportunity of writing your subject outline to convey your passion and excitement about your subject and discipline.

Some suggestions:

  • Get student attention visually. There are style templates and guidelines for the subject outline. Use your creativity within these boundaries to promote student interest.
  • Highlight (with photos) prominent individuals in the field.
  • Use quotes from notables in the field or from previous students.
  • Ask questions on the first page.
  • Use inclusive language to promote learner-teacher interaction (see Online Learning Model Learning Communities & Teacher Presence).
  • Phrase policy consequences in positive language, where possible.


4. Beyond Syllabus Policies: What Strategies Help Students Take Responsibility for Learning?

By: Lolita Paff

Source: https://www.teachingprofessor.com/20-minute-mentor/beyond-syllabus-policies-what-strategies-help-students-take-responsibility-for-learning/

Reading time: 2 minutes (20 minutes for original video)

Following on from the suggestion above to phrase policy consequences in positive language, Dr Paff offers practical advice about how to do this. The 'carrot and stick' approach to policy implementation is not necessarily the best means by which to promote positive attitudes to learning.

Four areas where policy prescriptions can be turned into teaching strategies:

  1. Attendance. Develop a 'culture of valued attendance' rather than a penalty for absence.
    Motivate attendance by engaging in learning activities that cannot be accessed out of the class, so students know that they are missing out if they only accessing recorded lectures and slides.
    Immediacy is the strategy of engaging in class one-on-one with students.
    Provide data and feedback on missed learning opportunities on days of student absence.
    Life training draws parallels between absenteeism in professional practice compared to the student context.
  2. Preparedness. Model good practice with your own preparedness for teaching.
    Provide choice in assessment tasks (see Supplemental Materials for this recording with ideas for Contract Grading).
    Make students 'face the music' for unpreparedness. For example, in a flipped lesson, teaching the content that students didn't read before class is disrespectful to those who did come prepared. One strategy is to pair students to complete activities based on the required preparation.
  3. Technology. Devices in class can be disruptive and distracting.
    Use 'technology breaks'.
    Try a distraction exercise (see Supplemental Materials for ideas about multitasking).
    Or, use the affordances of technology to access a range of apps and other online resources as part of a lesson.
  4. Late work/procrastination. Last minute assignment preparation affects the quality of learning and of assignments.
    Begin assignments in class, or at least spend class time previewing the requirements.
    Use strategies to manage student perfectionism.
    Provide reminders for due dates (rationale for this is discussed).

Implementing the CSU Value IMPACTFUL in your teaching.

Focusing on outcomes and behaving in a consistent and constructive manner enhances our impact on those around us. As a community of impactful professionals we are each thinking about how to best direct our efforts to secure results for our students and our communities.


Follow Teaching Tuesdays on Twitter.
Our Twitter feed includes links to further hints, tips and resources in the broader field of teaching in higher education.



1....Teaching support resources at Charles Sturt
2....Links to previous bulletins

3....Professional Learning at Charles Sturt
4....Bonus resource - LinkedIn Learning

5....Magna Publications Subscriptions


1. Teaching support resources at Charles Sturt

You have access to a range of quality Charles Sturt University resources to help you incorporate educational resources and techniques into your teaching. Check out the following:


2. Links to previous bulletins

Charles Sturt University Learning & Teaching Newsletters

Division of Learning and Teaching: DLT News

FoBJBS Newsletter: BJBS-News

FoA&E Newsletter: NeXus

Click below to download a list of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU topics

4. Bonus resource - LinkedIn Learning

All Charles Sturt University students and staff members have access to LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com). This online subscription library provides high-quality instructional videos with the latest business, creative and software skills and an extensive range of teaching tips.


5. Magna Publications Subscriptions

All staff with a Charles Sturt email address have FREE access to our subscription to these high quality learning and teaching resources.

Video seminars: Mentor Commons (20 minutes) and Magna Commons (40-90 minutes).

Text-based resources: The Teaching Professor (for teaching staff) and Academic Leader (for those in academic and administration leadership roles).

How to subscribe: There is a single Charles Sturt subscription code to access all four of these resources. Staff with a Charles Sturt University login can obtain the code and subscription instructions from this What's New link.


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Teaching Tuesdays@CSU Contacts

Division of Learning & Teaching, Charles Sturt University

Teaching Tuesdays@CSU bulletins are edited by Ellen McIntyre
Lecturer, Academic Development in the Division of Learning & Teaching at Charles Sturt University

Kogi Naidoo

Dr Kogi Naidoo, FHERDSA and PFHEA, is Associate Professor and Director of the Learning Academy, Division of Learning and Teaching at Charles Sturt University, playing a strategic role contributing to and enhancing teaching, the curriculum and assessment practice, meeting both staff and student needs.